Polunsky

Steven Michael Polunsky

Director, Transportation Policy Research Center, University of Alabama
Areas of Expertise:
  • Civic Engagement
  • Economic Growth & Innovation
  • Public Budgets & Taxes
  • Science & Technology

About Steven

Polunsky is the Director of the Alabama Transportation Policy Research Center at the University of Alabama. He previously was a research scientist with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, where he researched and provided policy implementation support for topics of legislative interest. Prior experience includes service as the director of the Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce for two regular and four special legislative sessions. In that position, he oversaw professional and administrative staff; managed and evaluated legislation and policy relating to business and industries regulated by the state of Texas, including all sectors from utilities to banking to construction; conducted policy studies and produced reports; and performed oversight of state and local agencies.

Prior to that service, he similarly directed the Texas Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security through two regular and two special sessions. Polunsky led an award-winning technology initiative to improve government transparency and interactivity that saved thousands of taxpayer dollars, concept-proved a nonintrusive instant feedback loop for public hearings, debuted the use of live spatial data in a legislative hearing, and produced the first mobile app of any state legislative committee in the country.

Podcast

Publications

"Open Government Briefing Guide," (with the Open Austin Gov Team, Carol Eckelkamp, Asha Dane'el, Alane Fitzgerald, Juliet Kernion, Chris McConnell, and Chip Rosenthal), Open Austin, July 31, 2014.
Provides important information about the open government and open data initiatives in Austin, and is presented to all candidates in the 2014 City of Austin municipal election.

In the News

Steven Michael Polunsky quoted on the power of social media in R. Scott Belzer, "Public Describes Dunwoody in One Word" Champion Newspaper, January 18, 2017.
Steven Michael Polunsky quoted on the intersection of politics and social media in Evan Brandt, "Cyber Citizenship: Using Facebook to Engage with Your Government" Mercury News, July 30, 2016.
Steven Michael Polunsky quoted on public involvement in legislative committee hearings in Ross Ramsey, "More Voices, and Perhaps, More Headaches" Texas Tribune, September 24, 2015.
Steven Michael Polunsky quoted on on the Skyder Alert app in Jason Plautz, "The Climate Conspiracy Theory Coming to Your Congressman's Twitter Feed" National Journal, February 5, 2015.
Steven Michael Polunsky quoted on the potential of social media for civic engagement in Dean Hoffmeyer, "Chesterfield Begins Shooting Snapshot Series" Times-Dispatch, November 15, 2014.
"Watchdog: Time to Unmask an Open-Government Superhero," Steven Michael Polunsky, Interview with Dave Lieber, Dallas Morning News, September 18, 2014.
Steven Michael Polunsky quoted on the outlook for legislation addressing the payday industry in Audrey White, "Lawmakers to Again Take Aim at Predatory Lending" Texas Tribune, January 18, 2013.
Steven Michael Polunsky quoted on public opinion on high-speed rail in Texas in Aman Batheja, "Bullet Train Failed Once, but It's Back" New York Times, March 6, 2014.
Steven Michael Polunsky quoted on using technology as a means for transparency in Vicky Garza, "Legislative Committees Use Social Media, QR Codes for Transparency" Houston Business Journal, April 29, 2011.
Steven Michael Polunsky's research on crowdsourcing legislation discussed in Reeve Hamilton. Steven Michael Polunsky, "Out of the Smoke Filled Room and Onto the Internet," New York Times, October 6, 2011.
Steven Michael Polunsky quoted on social media use in the Senate, "Senate Committees Push Boundaries on Social Media" Austin American-Statesman, January 29, 2012.
Steven Michael Polunsky's research on a crowdsourcing effort for new legislation regulating payday lending discussed in Kit Eaton. Steven Michael Polunsky, "Copyright Done Right? Finland to Vote on Crowdsourced Regulations," Fast Company/ Fast Feed, July 23, 2013.